The opioid crisis is front and center in the American consciousness. Opioid overdoses have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. The crisis has drawn the attention of everyone from President Trump to state attorneys general. Drug overdoses are the leading causes of accidental deaths, surpassing car accidents. Experts are making the connection between the proliferation of opioid prescriptions and overdoses. Among opioids, overdoses from fentanyl have spiked even more. The question now is, “Who is to blame?”
Policymakers are suing opioid manufacturers and distributors like Endo, Teva, Johnson & Johnson, Allergan and McKesson. They also have deep pockets. However, there were lots of actors involved – doctors, pharmacies, pill mills, people selling street fentanyl. Legally, it could be untenable to penalize only the deep-pocketed participants. Defendants are facing thousands of lawsuits from states, cities, towns and counties across the country. It is untenable for a company to defend itself against over 2,0000 opioid lawsuits.
Cleveland, OH federal judge Dan A. Polster has recommended that the parties agree to a settlement. Bellwether trials are scheduled for October 2019. Lawyers for the plaintiffs have crafted a novel proposal for settlement monies to be distributed to municipalities where the harm was created. Polster has shown support for the proposal. Endo and Allergan recently settled with Summit County and Cuyahoga County for a total of $15 million. There could be tens of billions of settlement money on the way for.
State attorneys general and plaintiffs’ lawyers are now fighting over should control the money. State AGs claim the multi-district litigation (“MDL”) encroaches on their right to decide what’s best for all citizens of the state. Cities and counties claim they bore the costs of the crisis, so they should receive the funds. Clearly tweaking, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost seeks to stymie any global opioid settlement:
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has asked a federal appeals court to halt or dismiss the first two bellwether trials in opioid multidistrict litigation, in a major escalation of the long-brewing fight between state AGs and cities/counties seeking their own share of opioid lawsuit proceeds.
In a mandamus petition filed Friday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the attorney general says the trials scheduled to begin Oct. 21 “would fragment the State’s claims, pose a high risk of inconsistent verdicts, result in duplicative or overlapping damages and misallocate funds in the state.” Cuyahoga and Summit counties, home to the cities of Akron and Cleveland, are the first of some 2,000 cities and counties across the country to have their cases scheduled for trial in the Cleveland court of U.S. District Judge Dan Polster, who is overseeing the opioid MDL.
Yost wants to halt the trial until after he can bring his own lawsuit next year. First of all, there is no guarantee Yost can win a case against opioid manufacturers or distributors. He would likely make a public nuisance claim or sue for third party damages like the costs for first responders or increased crimes. Similar opioid lawsuits have been dismissed in North Dakota and other states. If Yost wins, which is a long shot, any payments could be delayed for years on appeal. Meanwhile, there is an urgent need for funds to go for treatment and prevention in real time.
Instead of working with Ohio municipalities in the best interest of citizens, Yost would rather make the opioid settlement about him and his ego. Yost is tweaking so hard that Skully from Snowfall (on FX, created by John Singleton) is taking pictures of him. Skully is a local drug dealer in Englewood, CA. When Franklin Saint, Aunt Louie, Andre and Leon want to expand their crack cocaine empire, they decide to distribute through Skully. According to Manboy, who sister has a baby by Skully, the dude is absolutely crazy. When get a glimpse of that craziness when they visit Skully to describe the product and the terms.
In the following video Skully appears to put drugs into his ear in order to get a quicker high. Skully hears things; he then pistol whips a man tied up in the bathroom. He exits the bathroom … obviously tweaking, and does the “Skully dance” to the ’80s hit Egyptian Lover by Gregory Broussard.